The Internal Revenue Service has temporarily stopped sending out tax refunds, and the Tax Court has suspended operations during the federal government shutdown, as lawmakers in Congress continue their battle over delaying or defunding “Obamacare” for a year.
“Tax refunds will not be issued until normal government operations resume,” said the IRS. The IRS emphasized, however, that the underlying tax law remains in effect, and all taxpayers should continue to meet their tax obligations as normal.
“Individuals and businesses should keep filing their tax returns and making deposits with the IRS, as they are required to do so by law,” said the IRS. “The IRS will accept and process all tax returns with payments, but will be unable to issue refunds during this time. Taxpayers are urged to file electronically, because most of these returns will be processed automatically.”
In addition, the IRS noted that no live telephone customer service assistance will be available. However, most automated toll-free telephone applications will remain in operation. IRS walk-in taxpayer assistance centers will be closed, though.
While federal government offices are closed, people who have appointments with the IRS related to examinations and audits, as well as tax collection, appeals or Taxpayer Advocate cases should assume their meetings are canceled, the IRS noted. IRS personnel will reschedule the meetings at a later date once
the government shutdown ends.
In addition, IRS computer systems will continue to mail out automated notices to taxpayers, but IRS employees will not be sending any paper correspondence during the period when the federal government is shut down. The IRS provided some basic steps to follow during this period:
• Continue to file and pay taxes as normal. Individuals who have requested an extension of time to file should file their returns by Oct. 15, 2013.
• All other tax deadlines remain in effect, including those covering individuals, corporations, partnerships and employers. The regular payroll tax deadlines remain in effect as well.
• Taxpayers can file their tax returns electronically or on paper—although the processing of paper returns will be delayed until full government operations resume. Payments accompanying paper tax returns will still be accepted as the IRS receives them.
• Tax refunds will not be issued until normal government operations resume.
• Tax software companies, tax practitioners and Free File will remain available to assist with taxes.
A number of IRS services will remain available, but in a limited way. For taxpayers and preparers seeking assistance, only the automated applications on the regular (800) 829-1040 telephone line will remain open.
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